Ray Liotta, the veteran actor known for his roles in Goodfellas and Field of Dreams, has died at the age of 67.
According to Deadline, Liotta passed away in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was shooting the film Dangerous Waters. No cause of death has been made public at this time.
Born December 18th, 1954, Liotta was bartending in New York when he caught his first break with a role on the daytime soap opera Another World. He joined the series in 1978 but left in 1981 to test his luck in Hollywood, booking parts on a Casablanca TV show and the crime drama Our Family Honor, before netting his first major film role in the Jonathan Demme-directed Something Wild (1986). The part earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1989 Liotta starred as the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams, in which he convinced an Iowa farmer (Kevin Costner) to build a baseball diamond in a corn field. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
He followed that in 1990 with one of the greatest individual performances ever committed to film, starring as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Liotta began the movie as a young man looking for a place to belong, and traced Hill’s evolution to a swaggering young capo and then a strung-out gangster whose life is falling apart.
Liotta seemed poised to become a major star, but he had trouble capitalizing on Goodfellas’ success. In the flurry of movies that followed, he appeared in a few modest hits — No Escape (1994), Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), Cop Land (1997), and the telefilm The Rat Pack (1998), for which he was nominated for a SAG Award — as well as more than a few flops.
His first resurgence began in 1999 with a small role in Muppets in Space, followed by a substantial supporting part in 2001’s Hannibal and a turn as Johnny Depp’s father in 2002’s Blow. That same year, his performance in the undercover cop drama Narc drew rave reviews and is often cited as among Liotta’s best work. But his career was also entering a more self-referential phase, lending his voice to the “Brian Does Hollywood” episode of Family Guy and starring as himself in Just Shoot Me!